Paisley and snow again

Pete has already blogged this immediately below but it is really very interesting and I will put my own analysis on it. Paisley has welcomed Mr Ahern to Ballymena. His wife was confronted by Ruby Gillespie the wife of former DUP member Roy Gillespie, both of whom had been long term Paisley supporters and possibly even family friends. The similarities between what Paisley is now doing and what Terrance O’Neill did regarding Sean Lemass’s visit all those years ago are striking. The fact that it did not snow is possibly fortunate lest snowballs had made a reoccurrence.Whilst greeting a PM of a neighbouring state might be a bit of a non event; it is slightly odd with the Dromore by election just around the corner for Paisley to be willing to welcome the Taoiseach so publicly. It certainly handed Jim Allister a pretty easy opportunity to attack the DUP. If the DUP triumph in Dromore then Paisley will seem vindicated as he will be seen to have dismissed the TUV challenge as irrelevant and have been correct. Indeed one could make parallels with the way Tony Blair at times appeared to go out of his way to annoy traditional Labour supporters. This is, however, a somewhat high risk strategy and if the TUV do well let alone win this election the timing of events like this could be seen as poor. Better might have been to dismiss the TUV but equally not hand them sticks to beat the DUP with at this time. Although as I have said before it is important for all sides (and I particularly mean the TUV) not to see the Dromore by election as a hugely significant event; it is a single council by election.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    If there had been snowballs, Paisley might have been on the receiving end this time, given the way Roy Gillespie and wife acted yesterday.

    Nevertheless, the hardline protest numbered an amazing… two people. Clearly the other former DUP councillors in Ballymena don’t have the strength of their convictions to protest in the way they once did when unionist leaders sold out.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    To be fair to the big fellah, the difference with the Terence O’Neill era was that he (Paisley) had the Orange card to play ie the (veiled) threat of loyalist violence if the Englezes conceded ground to Nationalists. Post GFA and the understanding with the ROI and the yankess – that card could not be played again. He resisted a bit longer but when threatened by the Englezes with Plan B if he didnt sign up to STA threw his hand in.

  • CS Parnell

    As was once remarked in the pages of the Portadown News – “Four thousand people were unavailable for comment”

  • joeCanuck

    Don’t forget, Gonzo, it was only two people the last time too.
    Will Mr.Gillespie be able to proclaim “Never, never, never” or has the big guy got a copyright?

  • Paul P

    It’s a pity that there won’t a few more like Roy Gillespie at the protest.

    It would really have helped the DUP!

  • Small”r” Rupublican

    “Today’s spectacle at Galgorm is yet another manifestation of the dramatic intensification in north/southery which is occurring under devolution”

    Jim Allister’s wonderful new addition to the English language: north/southery.

    It’s fantastic.

  • JAJA is better than WaughWaugh:

    Paisley: ‘I think we are into the march and we have not even seen the march overseers’ ..”

  • Chuckle Vision

    ”Paisley: ‘I think we are into the march and we have not even seen the march overseers’ ..”

    It’s up there with Cantona’s famous remark apropos of nothing, “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think seagulls will be thrown into the sea”.

  • Bigger Picture


    Did you see H+M with Keith Harbinson’ interview?? What did you think of it??

    I’ve already outlined my views on a different blog (sorry i am not efficient in hyperlinking!)

    I’ll just add with my twopence worth by saying that I didn’t listen to Roy Gillespie when he was in the DUP and his major contribution to Ballymena was stopping an ungodly rock concert and stopping Liam Neeson getting the freedom of the city.

    Turgon your ability to point out opposition to the DUP is comendable. However i do wonder whether or not you are grasping at straws on something which attracted so little protest in reality?? Jim Allister’s statement aside, not even covered in the media, do you honestly think the people of Dromore are paying interest to those matters in their local council?? For that matter are you now playing each event in NI politics as being a direct factor in a local government election?? and if so, what happens if Keith Harbinson falls flat on his face in a couple of weeks time??

  • BP – Didn’t Liam Neeson refuse the freedom of the city?

    “not even covered in the media”

    Erm it was, cuz that’s where I picked it up.

    I can’t hear Roy Gillespie’s name any more without thinking of him denouncing Harry Potter as a “dangerous cult”. Hmm.

  • Bigger Picture


    “Erm it was, cuz that’s where I picked it up.”

    it did get a mention on the BBC so apologies for that statement in full.

    Yeah Liam Neeson did refuse it but only after the fuss Gillespie and others kicked up.

  • Turgon

    Bigger Picture,
    I will continue my self appointed task of spinning whatever happens. I agree, however, that a major failure in Dromore would represent a big problem. I am genuinely unsure of what would represent success. It is a difficult one to call. Clearly a TUV win would be very useful but would not necessarily represent crossing the Rubicon. Defeat but a decent showing would also be useful. A disaster would be bad but provided it was less bad than Bob McCartney’s level of failure I suspect it could be coped with.

    I hope most will believe me that I will try to give as honest an analysis as I can when we see the result. If you want we can spend the evening “gaming” the scenarios but even that will not help because it is often the quite ephemeral concepts of momentum and perception which dictate what happens and one can only really appreciate that when we get the result. Any thoughts yourself?

  • Bigger Picture


    Any thoughts I have on the matter have already been expressed on this site. I honestlt think Keith Harbinson is a decent candidate however after his watery performance on H+M i am less sure of that. In that mode i will ask again, did you see him on H+M and what were your thoughts??

    The only other thing i will add is that the TUV were spinnig that they were not even going to canvass as KH had too much work on, a DUP source told me. However i know for a fact that they have been out with Jim and all. Are they starting to lower expectations by already stating that they didn’t really run a contest?? Hearing others like Sammy Morrison tell me that the TUV have Dromore in the bag, so it seems that they’re trying to spin it both ways. In the end the DUP will win the seat but I don’t know what way the numbers will go.

  • Turgon

    In all honesty I thought his appearance was okay; the piece was a bit too short to make anything much either way. I only watched it last night.

    I really have no idea what the outcome will be. Even with a given outcome as I said above I think we will need to see how the mood develops and how the result is perceived.

    I am not really trying to be coy, I just do not know. Also (like you) I am not important enough to have any say in what is being said done or suggested. We will see what the voters do and then what our leaders do about it.

  • Allister 1 2 3

    At home watching Ireland just about beat Italy on Saturday, Jim Allister came to my door canvassing.

    I knew exactly who he was before he introduced himself, he handed me a leaflet and we made some polite conversation.

    I was wearing my Ulster rugby top and he pointed to it and asked me ‘how is the rugby going’ to which I replied ‘Oh Ireland, well their beating Italy’, he gave me a strange almost disapproving look and went on his way. 🙂

    Well it tickled me!